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You Could Soon Be Arrested in Uganda For Wearing a Miniskirt

You Could Soon Be Arrested in Uganda For Wearing a Miniskirt

While Uganda’s infamous anti-homosexuality bill has been making news headlines lately, another recently passed bill also has the country in an uproar. The anti-pornography law, also known locally as ‘the miniskirt ban,’ has the nation’s women shaking their heads. The law would propose that any sexually suggestive material, including TV shows, music videos, newspapers and magazines should be outlawed. Women wearing suggestive clothing or skirts ‘above the knee’ would be subject to arrest.

The December passage of these draconian laws carried with them a slew of Ugandan women posting pictures of themselves wearing miniskirts on their Facebook profiles. Meanwhile feminist groups within the capital of Kampala discussed wearing short skirts to their monthly meetings.

On any given night, clubs around Uganda are filled with bustling crowds of party-goers and revelers. From upscale venues like Silk, which enforce dress codes banning sandals and shorts, to thatched roof dance-halls like Iguana, where music pumps through a gyrating dance floor, most women have one thing in common: the short skirt. It is not just an ‘outfit’ one can wear. It is the outfit to wear.

“You can tell how long an expat has been here by the length of her skirt” one bartender confides. “Slowly as she grows accustomed to Ugandan culture it shrinks from her ankles to up her thighs”.

When asked if they’d adhere to the miniskirt ban, Ugandan women are skeptical. Lynn, a tall thin Ugandan woman who has spent much of her life working in nightclubs is dubious. “How can they enforce it? Will they come into the clubs and simply round up all the women? Business owners will complain, and then what?”

Her friends agree. “I think it’s a diversion,” Lynn’s colleague Hannah chimed in. “It will never be signed into law, and if it is, it will never be enforced. It’s just keeping us occupied while the government does something else.”

Of course it’s not just women that are upset about the bill. The wording on the anti-pornography act is so vague and it seems to suggest that anything causing arousal ought to be banned. Popular newspapers in Kampala, such as The Red Pepper, are well known for their “Salt & Pepper” section, in which sex stories, relationship advice and pictures of scantily clad ladies about town are featured. Photo shoots with up and coming models in lingerie is common. And although daily news is also printed within the publication, there’s no doubt revenue would take a hit if it was forced to remove the segment.

Of course, for both the anti-homosexuality law and the anti-pornography law, there is a way to go before it actually transitions from bill into act. President Museveni, who has been courting international investors and trying to increase tourism revenue in Uganda, must first sign the law. There is wide speculation over his willingness to do so, as investors and aid partners have threatened to pull out if the law passes. And although the Parliament does have the right to overrule a Presidential veto, the widespread nepotism of East Africa might actually be the people’s saving grace in this instance.

Regardless, the women of Uganda aren’t having it. “This isn’t a religious state” says Sarah, a mother of two who lives in Kampala, who still wears miniskirts when she hits the town. “Sure, if I move to Saudi Arabia then I understand I should wear an abaya when I go out. But this is Uganda. We are neither fundamentally Islamic nor Christian. We are a mix. So why try to contain a woman’s dress?”

“It will never go through” announces another woman seated next to her. “If it does I dare them to arrest me. The police barely come when your home is being robbed. Are they going to spend all their resources carting away smartly dressed ladies?” The two women laugh at this idea.

In a country where the police and government are trying to legitimize themselves to their own people, as well as the international community, the passage of such bills will represent a notable setback. As Sarah stands up to readjust her miniskirt, she tosses her head back and laughs. “It’s like they have nothing more pressing to worry about. Let’s forget about roads, schools, and clean water, because it’s certainly my thighs which are destroying the nation.”

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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145 comments

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5:27PM PDT on Sep 27, 2014

Thanks for sharing, this is sad

10:51PM PDT on Jul 27, 2014

As long as she's not wasting Too Much money , I don't see anything wrong this .
To me I take it simply just take this as Worldwide .!!!!!!

Must admit Uganda's not much money , like eg, Britain , USA, ETC
Hope these dress like this don't cost much there ???

Jimmy P

10:02AM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

As a man myself, I do not mean to sound down or men or like a man hater, I just see wisdom giving men consequences that preventing offending and re-offending rather giving them ones that do not work for them or society. Adding a flogging to a prison term would not add to the cost, and it has a demonstrated history of being very effective in past times when that approach to punishing sex crime was more universal and in nations such as Singapore and several others where sex crime is punished that way to this day. I believe that if women had the chance to experience being a man and understanding how easily visual stimuli affect men sexually, even more women would agree with my thinking (even though the male fascination pornography, strip clubs, voyeurism, bikinis, and scantily clad women in television shows and newspaper advertisements should be obvious to women). I can tell that many women do not understand this reality to the extent that it fully exists based on some of the things they say. My wish is for men and women to live in harmony with mutual respect where women feel safe and and men behave in way that makes that possible. I think this can be achieved when the testosterone-driven impulses of men are kept under control through proper education at school and at home and when painful consequence are available for men who are not moral enough to exercise self-control. Something as simple as a few feet of leather or rattan cane really could make difference. Feminists

10:01AM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

By proper laws and consequences, I do not just mean just passively wasting time in prison. The men in prison for sex crime should be given the counselling and education that they need on how to interact with women and control their impulses while they are in prison. But do not think that I am advocating a totally soft approach with no deterrent effect. These men need a very strong deterrent to re-offending or offending in the first place to make it very clear that whatever physical satisfaction they receive from committing the crime will be more than offset by by the physical discomfort they will experience in return. This is why I advocate for bringing back the lash for men who engage in acts of sexual abuse. After all, if some men are going to be governed simply by what appeals to the most basic physical impulses of their bodies, it makes sense to use a punishment that reaches those men on the same level. The less women wear, the more this approach makes sense. As a man myself, I do not mean to sound down or men or like a man hater, I just see wisdom giving men consequences that preventing offending and re-offending rather giving them ones that do not work for them or society. Adding a flogging to a prison term would not add to the cost, and it has a demonstrated history of being very effective in past times when that approach to punishing sex crime was more universal and in nations such as Singapore and several others where sex crime is punished that way to this da

9:59AM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

It is the behavior of the men that needs to controlled through proper education, laws, and consequences against sexual wrongdoing. While some people do not like to admit (even though everyone knows it as is evidenced by mothers forbidding their daughters to leave the house dressed in certain outfits), women dressed in revealing clothing are more eye catching and sexually arousing to men. So let's just get realistic. Women dress as they do in the modern age, and men have to cope with that. This can be achieved through education in school and messages in public service announcements in the media that emphasize women's rights and proper behavior on the part of men as well as through meaningful laws and consequences.

By proper laws and consequences, I do not just mean just passively wasting time in prison. The men in prison for sex crime should be given the counselling and education that they need on how to interact with women and control their impulses while they are in prison. But do not think that I am advocating a totally soft approach with no deterrent effect. These men need a very strong deterrent to re-offending or offending in the first place to make it very clear that whatever physical satisfaction they receive from committing the crime will be more than offset by by the physical discomfort they will experience in return. This is why I advocate for bringing back the lash for men who engage in acts of sexual abuse. After all, if some men are going to be gove

1:20PM PST on Feb 28, 2014

Did American Taxpayers Help Push Through Uganda's Anti-Gay Law?

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni approved a harsh new bill making "aggravated homosexuality" a crime punishable by life in prison, he cited a recent report from the Ugandan Ministry of Health's Committee on Homosexuality, which concluded that same-sex attraction is mostly a learned impulse. "Since nurture is the main cause of homosexuality, then society can do something about it to discourage the trends," Museveni said. "That is why I have agreed to sign the bill."

This pronouncement creates a quandary for the United States. American officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have vehemently condemned Museveni's decision. Yet millions of US taxpayer dollars are flowing to the agency that the Ugandan leader used to justify the legislation, according to records from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1:19PM PST on Feb 28, 2014

Continued...

The CDC declined to comment. But several politicians, including Kerry and Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy, have called for cutting US aid to Uganda. The situation for gay Ugandans, meanwhile, is growing ever more treacherous. In 2011, the founder Uganda's largest gay rights organization, David Kato, was beaten to death with a hammer after his photo was splashed across the cover of a Ugandan magazine under the headline "Hang Them!"

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/02/cdc-funds-ugandan-agency-pushed-anti-gay-law

2:48AM PST on Feb 20, 2014

arigato

1:09PM PST on Feb 19, 2014

unenforcabe. Barny, your comment is as uninformed as it is raciest. I suggest you educate yourself before talking about things you don't understand.

3:36AM PST on Feb 17, 2014

Africa is Africa...men never have...do not now...and never will respect women....
they still have the tribal mentality and it works!
So IF you want to change it...STOP BUY ANYTHING FROM THERE OR EXPORT THERE.....

BUT WHO WILL HAVE THE GUTS TO DO THAT...CANT THINK OF ONE GOVERNMENT!

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